Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughIt’s not so grim up North! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough It’s not so grim up North! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

It’s not so grim up North!

There are always winners and losers in the transfer market and although the window has not been open for long, so far those up North are doing well. Newcastle and Sunderland have started this new window positively, especially the Black Cats, with a flurry of recent signings. 

With the departure of Jordan Henderson it could have been easy for the atmosphere around Sunderland to be that of pessimism. However, the reported fee of £20 million has been well invested back into the squad. Henderson has been replaced with Craig Gardner who is a proven and good premiership player. Last season as Birmingham crashed, he was their leading goal scorer with 10, of which 8 were in the league. Sebastian Larsson has also been recruited from the Blues on a free transfer. He has consistently played well over Birmingham’s ups and downs, last season he contributed 4 goals and 6 assists. Both players should more than fill the creative void that Henderson’s departure has left. These players along with Sessegnon, Cattermole and El Mohammadi should mean that Sunderland have a starting midfield that could cause any side a problem.

The free transfer of Westwood might prove to be interesting, and possibly upsetting signing to the dynamic at Sunderland. With three keepers all wanting and challenging for the number one jersey it might mean one will end up leaving in January. If Craig Gordon keeps injury free it seems very unlikely that Westwood will be able to unseat the reported £10 million keeper.

Young additions to their strike force should however be viewed as a positive. Connor Wickham could prove to be a very good player for the future. He had a successful season with a stuttering Ipswich side that were viewed by some as favourites to go up and instead ended up in mid-table obscurity. Last season he made a total of 27 starts and scored 9 goals, it will be interesting to see whether he can make the step-up to premiership level, there is no doubt though that he will be around better quality players that should give him the inspiration to become a good premiership striker in the next few seasons. Perhaps more of a risk is the signing of Ji Dong-Won, as the Premiership will be a massive step-up from the K-League. The 20 year old does have a decent goal tally, with 16 in a total of 44 games for the Chunnam Dragons. However, it was his performances in the Asia Cup that was the catalyst for Steve Bruce, with the forward scoring 4 goals and providing 2 more in 6 games for South Korea.  

Newcastle have also made positive inroads in the transfer market, and they probably have more to spend, what with the £35 million from Liverpool for Andy Carroll. They have already invested some of it in the midfield, with the additions of Cabaye and Marveaux from Lille and Rennes. Cabaye was a key member of the Lille side that did the French league and cup double last season, contributing 2 goals and 7 assists in 36 starts. He was invaluable as a defensive midfielder and gained a call up to the French national team. Marveaux is more of an attacking midfielder and seems to have been bought as a replacement for Nolan. It will, however, take an incredibly good first season in English football for him to get to a level close to their former captain. There is no doubt that he has the reputation to be a good premiership player. Pardew has come out and said they have been following the midfielders progress for some time, and he has been heavily linked with Liverpool in the past. He is a risk however, not only as a player not used to the English leagues, but also as he missed most of last season through injury, only playing 10 games, with just a singular goal and 2 assists. The previous season he made 35 appearances with 10 goals and 5 assists. Another year like that one and the Toon Army will be pleased with their new adopted Geordie.

Pardew might have pulled off a potential signing of the season with the addition of Bemba Ba on a free transfer. Playing for a dismal West Ham side he managed to shine with 7 goals in 12 appearances. He looked like a good premiership striker with the right physicality to make him awkward for defences as well as a good enough finish for him to be a consistent 15 goal a season man.

New signings can always be either great or terrible for teams, but all of the business that has been done so far by Bruce and Pardew seems to be very shrewd. There is always the possibility of more players joining both clubs, Gibson, O’Shea and Wes Brown have been heavily linked with moves to Wearside, whereas on Tyneside another striker seems to be the most likely area of improvement. One thing that will be positive for the activity in the window so far is that all the current signings have a full pre-season to blend with their new teammates, which could prove invaluable.

A very positive season could be coming for both clubs.



Josh Giles

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